Rasmussen’s encephalitis (RE) is a chronic inflammatory brain disorder that causes frequent seizures and unilateral hemispheric atrophy with progressive neurological deficits. Hemispherectomy remains the only treatment that leads to seizure freedom for this refractory epileptic syndrome. The absence of an animal model of disease has been a major obstacle hampering the development of effective therapies. Here, we describe an experimental mouse model that shares several clinical and pathological features with the human disease. Immunodeficient mice injected with peripheral blood mononuclear cells from RE patients and monitored by video electroencephalography developed severe seizures of cortical origin and showed intense astrogliosis and accumulation of human IFN-γ– and granzyme B–expressing T lymphocytes in the brain compared with mice injected with immune cells from control subjects. We also provide evidence for the efficacy of α4 integrin blockade, an approved therapy for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease, in reducing inflammatory markers associated with RE in the CNS. This model holds promise as a valuable tool for understanding the pathology of RE and for developing patient-tailored experimental therapeutics.
Hania Kebir, Lionel Carmant, François Fontaine, Kathie Béland, Ciprian M. Bosoi, Nathalie T. Sanon, Jorge I. Alvarez, Sébastien Desgent, Camille L. Pittet, David Hébert, Marie-Josée Langlois, Rose-Marie Rébillard, Dang K. Nguyen, Cécile Cieuta-Walti, Gregory L. Holmes, Howard P. Goodkin, John R. Mytinger, Mary B. Connolly, Alexandre Prat, Elie Haddad
The apolipoprotein E E4 allele of the APOE gene is the strongest genetic factor for late-onset Alzheimer disease (LOAD). There is compelling evidence that apoE influences Alzheimer disease (AD) in large part by affecting amyloid β (Aβ) aggregation and clearance; however, the molecular mechanism underlying these findings remains largely unknown. Herein, we tested whether anti–human apoE antibodies can decrease Aβ pathology in mice producing both human Aβ and apoE4, and investigated the mechanism underlying these effects. We utilized APPPS1-21 mice crossed to apoE4-knockin mice expressing human apoE4 (APPPS1-21/APOE4). We discovered an anti–human apoE antibody, anti–human apoE 4 (HAE-4), that specifically recognizes human apoE4 and apoE3 and preferentially binds nonlipidated, aggregated apoE over the lipidated apoE found in circulation. HAE-4 also binds to apoE in amyloid plaques in unfixed brain sections and in living APPPS1-21/APOE4 mice. When delivered centrally or by peripheral injection, HAE-4 reduced Aβ deposition in APPPS1-21/APOE4 mice. Using adeno-associated virus to express 2 different full-length anti–apoE antibodies in the brain, we found that HAE antibodies decreased amyloid accumulation, which was dependent on Fcγ receptor function. These data support the hypothesis that a primary mechanism for apoE-mediated plaque formation may be a result of apoE aggregation, as preferentially targeting apoE aggregates with therapeutic antibodies reduces Aβ pathology and may represent a selective approach to treat AD.
Fan Liao, Aimin Li, Monica Xiong, Nga Bien-Ly, Hong Jiang, Yin Zhang, Mary Beth Finn, Rosa Hoyle, Jennifer Keyser, Katheryn B. Lefton, Grace O. Robinson, Javier Remolina Serrano, Adam P. Silverman, Jing L. Guo, Jennifer Getz, Kirk Henne, Cheryl E.G. Leyns, Gilbert Gallardo, Jason D. Ulrich, Patrick M. Sullivan, Eli Paul Lerner, Eloise Hudry, Zachary K. Sweeney, Mark S. Dennis, Bradley T. Hyman, Ryan J. Watts, David M. Holtzman
Loss of bladder control is a challenging outcome facing patients with spinal cord injury (SCI). We report that systemic blocking of pro–nerve growth factor (proNGF) signaling through p75 with a CNS-penetrating small-molecule p75 inhibitor resulted in significant improvement in bladder function after SCI in rodents. The usual hyperreflexia was attenuated with normal bladder pressure, and automatic micturition was acquired weeks earlier than in the controls. The improvement was associated with increased excitatory input to the spinal cord, in particular onto the tyrosine hydroxylase–positive fibers in the dorsal commissure. The drug also had an effect on the bladder itself, as the urothelial hyperplasia and detrusor hypertrophy that accompany SCI were largely prevented. Urothelial cell loss that precedes hyperplasia was dependent on p75 in response to urinary proNGF that is detected after SCI in rodents and humans. Surprisingly, death of urothelial cells and the ensuing hyperplastic response were beneficial to functional recovery. Deleting p75 from the urothelium prevented urothelial death, but resulted in reduction in overall voiding efficiency after SCI. These results unveil a dual role of proNGF/p75 signaling in bladder function under pathological conditions with a CNS effect overriding the peripheral one.
Jae Cheon Ryu, Katharine Tooke, Susan E. Malley, Anastasia Soulas, Tirzah Weiss, Nisha Ganesh, Nabila Saidi, Stephanie Daugherty, Uri Saragovi, Youko Ikeda, Irina Zabbarova, Anthony J. Kanai, Mitsuharu Yoshiyama, H. Francis Farhadi, William C. de Groat, Margaret A. Vizzard, Sung Ok Yoon
During development, Sox2 is indispensable for cell division and differentiation, yet its roles in regenerating tissues are less clear. Here, we used combinations of transgenic mouse models to reveal that Sox2 haploinsufficiency (Sox2haplo) increases rather than impairs cochlear regeneration in vivo. Sox2haplo cochleae had delayed terminal mitosis and ectopic sensory cells, yet normal auditory function. Sox2haplo amplified and expanded domains of damage-induced Atoh1+ transitional cell formation in neonatal cochlea. Wnt activation via β-catenin stabilization (β-cateninGOF) alone failed to induce proliferation or transitional cell formation. By contrast, β-cateninGOF caused proliferation when either Sox2haplo or damage was present, and transitional cell formation when both were present in neonatal, but not mature, cochlea. Mechanistically, Sox2haplo or damaged neonatal cochleae showed lower levels of Sox2 and Hes5, but not of Wnt target genes. Together, our study unveils an interplay between Sox2 and damage in directing tissue regeneration and Wnt responsiveness and thus provides a foundation for potential combinatorial therapies aimed at stimulating mammalian cochlear regeneration to reverse hearing loss in humans.
Patrick J. Atkinson, Yaodong Dong, Shuping Gu, Wenwen Liu, Elvis Huarcaya Najarro, Tomokatsu Udagawa, Alan G. Cheng
Spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) is an adult-onset neurodegenerative disease caused by a polyglutamine expansion in the protein ATXN1, which is involved in transcriptional regulation. Although symptoms appear relatively late in life, primarily from cerebellar dysfunction, pathogenesis begins early, with brain-wide transcriptional changes detectable as early as a week after birth in SCA1 knock-in mice. Given the importance of this postnatal period for cerebellar development, we asked whether this region might be developmentally altered by mutant ATXN1. We found that expanded ATXN1 stimulates the proliferation of postnatal cerebellar stem cells in SCA1 mice. These hyper-proliferating stem cells tended to differentiate into GABAergic inhibitory interneurons rather than astrocytes; this significantly increased the GABAergic inhibitory interneuron synaptic connections, disrupting cerebellar Purkinje cell function in a non-cell autonomous manner. We confirmed the increased basket cell-Purkinje cell connectivity in human SCA1 patients. Mutant ATXN1 thus alters the neural circuitry of the developing cerebellum, setting the stage for the later vulnerability of Purkinje cells to SCA1. We propose that other late-onset degenerative diseases may also be rooted in subtle developmental derailments.
Chandrakanth Reddy Edamakanti, Jeehaeh Do, Alessandro Didonna, Marco Martina, Puneet Opal
Painful diabetic neuropathy (PDN) is an intractable complication of diabetes that affects 25% of patients. PDN is characterized by neuropathic pain and small-fiber degeneration, accompanied by dorsal root ganglion (DRG) nociceptor hyperexcitability and loss of their axons within the skin. The molecular mechanisms underlying DRG nociceptor hyperexcitability and small-fiber degeneration in PDN are unknown. We hypothesize that chemokine CXCL12/CXCR4 signaling is central to this mechanism, as we have shown that CXCL12/CXCR4 signaling is necessary for the development of mechanical allodynia, a pain hypersensitivity behavior common in PDN. Focusing on DRG neurons expressing the sodium channel Nav1.8, we applied transgenic, electrophysiological, imaging, and chemogenetic techniques to test this hypothesis. In the high-fat diet mouse model of PDN, we were able to prevent and reverse mechanical allodynia and small-fiber degeneration by limiting CXCR4 signaling or neuronal excitability. This study reveals that excitatory CXCR4/CXCL12 signaling in Nav1.8-positive DRG neurons plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of mechanical allodynia and small-fiber degeneration in a mouse model of PDN. Hence, we propose that targeting CXCR4-mediated DRG nociceptor hyperexcitability is a promising therapeutic approach for disease-modifying treatments for this currently intractable and widespread affliction.
Nirupa D. Jayaraj, Bula J. Bhattacharyya, Abdelhak A. Belmadani, Dongjun Ren, Craig A. Rathwell, Sandra Hackelberg, Brittany E. Hopkins, Herschel R. Gupta, Richard J. Miller, Daniela M. Menichella
Increasing evidence suggests that synapse dysfunctions are a major determinant of several neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases. Here we identify protein kinase N1 (PKN1) as a novel key player in fine-tuning the balance between axonal outgrowth and presynaptic differentiation in the parallel fiber (PF)-forming cerebellar granule cells (Cgc). Postnatal Pkn1–/– animals showed a defective PF-Purkinje cell (PC) synapse formation. In vitro, Pkn1–/– Cgc exhibited deregulated axonal outgrowth, elevated AKT phosphorylation and higher levels of neuronal differentiation-2 (NeuroD2), a transcription factor preventing presynaptic maturation. Concomitantly Pkn1–/– Cgc had a reduced density of presynaptic sites. By inhibiting AKT with MK-2206 and siRNA-mediated knockdown, we found that AKT hyperactivation is responsible for the elongated axons, higher NeuroD2 levels and the reduced density of presynaptic specifications in Pkn1–/– Cgc. In line with our in vitro data, Pkn1–/– mice showed AKT hyperactivation, elevated NeuroD2 levels and reduced expression of PF-PC synaptic markers during stages of PF maturation in vivo. The long-term effect of Pkn1 knockout was further seen in cerebellar atrophy and mild ataxia. In summary, our results demonstrate that PKN1 functions as a developmentally active gatekeeper of AKT activity, thereby fine-tuning axonal outgrowth and presynaptic differentiation of Cgc and subsequently the correct PF-PC synapse formation.
Stephanie zur Nedden, Rafaela Eith, Christoph Schwarzer, Lucia Zanetti, Hartwig Seitter, Friedrich Fresser, Alexandra Koschak, Angus J.M. Cameron, Peter J. Parker, Gottfried Baier, Gabriele Baier-Bitterlich
Transient vanilloid potential 1 (TRPV1) agonists are emerging as highly efficacious non-opioid analgesics in preclinical studies. These drugs selectively lesion TRPV1+ primary sensory afferents, which are responsible for the transmission of many noxious stimulus modalities. Resiniferatoxin (RTX) is a very potent and selective TRPV1 agonist and is a promising candidate for treating many types of pain. Recent work establishing intrathecal application of RTX for the treatment of pain resulting from advanced cancer has demonstrated profound analgesia in client-owned dogs with osteosarcoma. The present study uses transcriptomics and histochemistry to examine the molecular mechanism of RTX action in rats, in clinical canine subjects, and in one human subject with advanced cancer treated for pain using intrathecal RTX. In all three species we observe a strong analgesic action, yet this was accompanied by limited transcriptional alterations at the level of the DRG. Functional and neuroanatomical studies demonstrated that intrathecal RTX largely spares susceptible neuronal perikarya, which remain active peripherally, but unable to transmit signals to the spinal cord. The results demonstrate that central chemo-axotomy of the TRPV1+ afferents underlies RTX analgesia and refine the neurobiology underlying effective clinical use of TRPV1 agonists for pain control.
Matthew R. Sapio, John K. Neubert, Danielle M. LaPaglia, Dragan Maric, Jason M. Keller, Stephen J. Raithel, Eric L. Rohrs, Ethan M. Anderson, John A. Butman, Robert M. Caudle, Dorothy C. Brown, John D. Heiss, Andrew J. Mannes, Michael J. Iadarola
Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a dominantly inherited disease, caused by hyperactivation of the mTORC1 pathway and characterized by the development of hamartomas and benign tumors, also in the brain. Among the neurological manifestations associated with TSC, the tumor progression of static subependymal nodules (SENs) into subependymal giant cell astrocytomas (SEGAs) is one of the major causes of morbidity and shortened life expectancy. To date, mouse modeling has failed in reproducing these two lesions. Here we report that simultaneous hyperactivation of mTORC1 and Akt pathways by codeletion of Tsc1 and Pten, selectively in postnatal neural stem cells (pNSCs), is required for the formation of bona fide SENs and SEGAs. Notably, both lesions closely recapitulate the pathognomonic morphological and molecular features of the corresponding human abnormalities. The establishment of long-term expanding pNSC lines from mouse SENs and SEGAs made possible the identification of mTORC2 as one of the mediators conferring tumorigenic potential to SEGA pNSCs. Of note, in spite of concurrent Akt hyperactivation in mouse brain lesions, single mTOR inhibition by rapamycin was sufficient to strongly impair mouse SEGA growth. This study provides the first evidence that, concomitant with mTORC1 hyperactivation, sustained activation of Akt and mTORC2 in pNSCs is a mandatory step for the induction of SENs and SEGAs and, at the same time, makes available an unprecedented NSC-based in vivo/in vitro model to be exploited for identifying actionable targets in TSC.
Paola Zordan, Manuela Cominelli, Federica Cascino, Elisa Tratta, Pietro L. Poliani, Rossella Galli
The nonerythrocytic α-spectrin-1 (SPTAN1) gene encodes the cytoskeletal protein αII spectrin. Mutations in SPTAN1 cause early infantile epileptic encephalopathy type 5 (EIEE5); however, the role of αII spectrin in neurodevelopment and EIEE5 pathogenesis is unknown. Prior work suggests that αII spectrin is absent in the axon initial segment (AIS) and contributes to a diffusion barrier in the distal axon. Here, we have shown that αII spectrin is expressed ubiquitously in rodent and human somatodendritic and axonal domains. CRISPR-mediated deletion of Sptan1 in embryonic rat forebrain by in utero electroporation caused altered dendritic and axonal development, loss of the AIS, and decreased inhibitory innervation. Overexpression of human EIEE5 mutant SPTAN1 in embryonic rat forebrain and mouse hippocampal neurons led to similar developmental defects that were also observed in EIEE5 patient-derived neurons. Additionally, patient-derived neurons displayed aggregation of spectrin complexes. Taken together, these findings implicate αII spectrin in critical aspects of dendritic and axonal development and synaptogenesis, and support a dominant-negative mechanism of SPTAN1 mutations in EIEE5.
Yu Wang, Tuo Ji, Andrew D. Nelson, Katarzyna Glanowska, Geoffrey G. Murphy, Paul M. Jenkins, Jack M. Parent